Hardik Pandya is former India coach Ravi Shastris choice as Indias T20I captain and also said the team should groom T20 specialists like England.

Former India coach Ravi Shastri on Thursday (November 17) echoed that sentiment and said there was no harm in trying a new T20I captain and dropped in the name of Hardik Pandya.

“For T20 cricket, there is no harm in having a new captain. Because the volume of cricket is such that for one player, to play all three formats of the game is never going to be easy.

“If Rohit is already leading in Tests and ODIs, there is no harm in identifying a new T20I captain and if his name is Hardik Pandya, so be it,” said Shastri in a gathering of select media persons organised by Prime Video ahead of the first T20I between India and New Zealand on Friday (November 18), which was also attended by former India pacer Zaheer Khan.

The India coaching staff including head coach Rahul Dravid has been given a break after the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 but Shastri did not seem in agreement.

“I don’t believe in breaks. I want to understand my team and players, and then be in control of that team. What do you need that many breaks for, to be honest?

You get your two-three months of the IPL, that’s enough for you to rest as a coach. But other times, I think a coach should be hands-on, whoever he is,” said Shastri.

Zaheer said the India pace attack will require variety going forward and bowlers like Umran Malik can inject a fresh lease of enthusiasm to the team’s bowling.

“The variety in your pace attack is a must and you have seen teams following that kind of pattern. You need a left-arm bowler, you need someone who can swing the ball, you need someone who is an out-and-out fast bowler.

“If everything is in one package, then even better but if not, you would like to use the variety in your attack in the bowling lineup and use different conditions well.

“Umran has been a very exciting talent and this kind of exposure is definitely going to help him, it is about how he takes things forward if he wants to grab the spot consistently,” said Zaheer.

Shastri chimed in with a similar view. “He is one of the fastest bowlers in India and you saw what happened in the World Cup where genuine pace rattled opposition, whether it was Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah or Anrich Nortje.

“So, there is no substitute for genuine pace. Even if you are defending small totals so this is an opportunity for Umran, hopefully, he will learn from this exposure,” said Shastri.

Shastri also batted for India having T20 specialists, and said the team should strive in that direction.

“I think that is the way forward, I think VVS (Laxman) is right. They will identify specialists. Going forward, that should be the mantra. Identify and make that Indian side into a terrific fielding side and identify roles for these youngsters who can be fearless and play that kind of cricket without any kind of baggage,” he said.

(Watch the India tour of New Zealand live and exclusive on Prime Video from Nov 18- Nov 30. The T20Is on 18th, 20th and 22nd November begin 11 AM, and ODIs on 25th, 27th and 30th November begin 6 AM).